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Sydney Garner

Sidney Garner

Sidney Garner
Sidney Garner Sydney Garner Brazil

Name

Sidney Garner
Sydney Garner

Sidney Garner originally from Harlem in New York City, was a manager who toured Europe. He left New York in October 1914 on The Red Cross, formerly known as the Hamburg, of the Hamburg-American lines, which were employed to transport Red Cross personnel to Europe during World War I.

During World War II, he was interned by the Germans. Garner spoke multiple languages and worked as a secretary and interpreter for several Black celebrities after residing in Europe for almost a decade.

After Lou Bolton was fired for stealing Esther's money and treating her mother Gertrude Jones like a maid, Garner became Lil' "Little Esther" Jones' new manager. In February of 1929, he built a show and tour, around Esther Jones, and toured Europe, Brazil and Argentina. Esther Jones had a good career in Brazil thanks to Sidney Garner in 1931.

In June, 1931, Garner the then manager of the wonder girl, Esther Jones, 8-year-old dancer, comedienne and singer, arrived in Rio de Janero from Europe with his child prodigy who opened at the Cine Theatre Eldorado and scored such a success that Generosa Pence, co-owner of the establishment, honored Esther with a dinner party in his luxurious apartment. Carmen Miranda, then 19, who was born in Marco Canavezes, Portugal, but had been living in Brazil for some years, was among the invited guests and met Garner for the first time.

After dinner, Carmen Miranda asked Esther Jones to sing a song, she had enjoyed hearing the child star sing on the stage. But Esther Jones refused. "Well," said Miranda (quoting Garner), "If you won't sing for me, then I'll sing for you." Carmen Miranda began to sing, and Garner admitted that he was overwhelmed by her voice, talent and personality.

Immediately after she finished, Garner asked Miranda if she was an artist, and received a negative answer. "By my dear girl," said Garner, "you are wasting your time like that. Why you're terrific. You've got everything that it takes, beauty, youth and talent. Why if you went to America you'd create a sensation. Believe me, you'd be a star in Hollywood in little time." Carmen Miranda only laughed, and thought she was being kidded. Nevertheless, Garner was persistent and continued to persuade her.

On Sunday, October 25, 1931, Rio's principal newspaper, "A Patria," gave considerable space to Garner's "find," Carmen Miranda whom he termed as "a revelation of Brazilian talent," and his prediction of her un-questionable rise to stardom should she go to Hollywood. An impresario in Buenos Aires read it, rushed up to Rio, sought out Miranda, and made her such a flattering offer to sing at a club in Buenos Aires that she couldn't refuse. Miranda's success was spontaneous and inspiring.

Before her contract terminated, she had signed for engagements in the United States to which she proceeded immediately afterwards. The rest is history. Garner had became ill in 1932, and retired from show business. Esther and her aunt Ruth Jones, who were touring Brazil and South America were both tired and homesick and returned to America.

As soon as Esther returned to America, her stardom started to dwindle, and she slowly faded into obscurity. Baby Esther's story was known for decades as she had been cited by the Fleischer Studios as having used the "Boop-Oop-a-Doop" gimmick prior to Helen Kane, however the original story by "Betty Boop Checks" that circulated media featured misinformation, and confused a lot of people. This was later followed up by a hoax by HelloBeautiful and people who did not research the origins of the hoax, featuring a cosplayer and or model by the name of Oyla. Jones' real story was later brought to light by blogger Berry Boop who made all hidden photos, leads and articles accessible, with the help of the Betty Boop Fandom and or Fandom in general as a whole.

To this day, this initial research shared, has helped others to elaborate further on the story.[1] Sidney Garner played a great deal in promoting Esther's career, he was overjoyed to find such skilled colored American artists in Brazil.

Quotes

  • Sidney Garner: "Baby Esther is now under my direction." (Paris, April 15, 1929)
  • Sidney Garner: "Esther had made a great hit here in France." (Paris, April 15, 1929)
  • Sidney Garner: "Esther was formerly under the Lou Bolton management, a naturalized Russian-American, who tried to draw the color line here in Paris." (Paris, April 15, 1929)
  • Sidney Garner: "Lou Bolton created quite a scandal in Paris." (Paris, April 15, 1929)
  • Sidney Garner: "It was then that Mrs. Gertrude Jones asked me to take care of her interests." (Paris, April 15, 1929)
  • Sidney Garner: "When Esther Jones arrived in Paris she was greatly in need of clothes on account of Mr. Bolton being too stingy to buy her some." (Paris, April 15, 1929)
  • Sidney Garner: "In fact Esther had created a bigger sensation than the great Josephine Baker." (Paris, April 15, 1929)
  • Sidney Garner: "Isn't she wonderful, marvelous, extraordinary, this little Esther." (Paris, April 15, 1929)
  • Sidney Garner: "Under my management, Esther has the reputation of being one of the best dressed child artists in France." (Paris, April 15, 1929)
  • Sidney Garner: "It's timeless to mention, that I am a colored man, and I am the only colored impresario in France. I hope to make Esther Jones the greatest colored child artist in the world." (Paris, April 15, 1929)
  • Sidney Garner: "It is really a miracle to see a child of her age so clever, she is a phenomenon. Every magazine has her in their columns." (Paris, April 15, 1929)

Trivia

  • In 1931, at the home of Generosa Pence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he introduced a young Esther Jones to Carmen Miranda, who at the time was known as just Maria do Carmo Miranda da Cunha.
  • In 1946, fully retired from show business, Garner lived the rest of his life in peace and comfort. He was on the staff of the American Chamber of Commerce, 21 Avenue George V, and was a collector of rare and modern stamps.
  • Garner is referenced on page 369 in the 2019 book Jazz and Justice: Racism and the Political Economy of the Music by Gerald Horne.[3]
  • Garner is referenced on page 68 in the 2020 book Tropical Travels: Brazilian Popular Performance, Transnational Encounters, and the Construction of Race by Lisa Shaw.[4]
  • Lou Bolton is often quoted as Esther's manager, however it was Sidney Garner who furthered Jones' career.

See Also


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